Friday, January 14

Cross-country skiing and diet
By Sharon Howard, R.D., M.S., C.D.E. FADA

Fuel up for Cross-Country Skiing

What exercise works your entire body, burns copious calories and makes you love winter again? Cross-country skiing. It's an endurance sport that can keep you fit through the winter months.

A great calorie burner

Depending on your weight and skiing speed, you can expend a lot of calories cross-country skiing, as the following chart indicates:

Calories Per Minute for Cross-Country Skiing
Speed 130 lbs 140 lbs 150 lbs 160 lbs 180 lbs 200 lbs
2.5 mph 6.5 7 7.5 8 9 10
4 mph 8.5 9.2 9.9 10.5 11.9 13.2

So, if you weigh 150 pounds and cross-country ski for two hours at 4 miles per hour, you will burn 1,188 calories!

In order to do this, you need to be in good shape, be trained in similar endurance sports, and eat and drink properly.

Nutrition and skiing

  • Fluids: Even though you may not break a heavy sweat, cool dry air and heavy respiration can lead to dehydration. Drink fluids before, during and after cross-country skiing. You will know you are well hydrated if your urine is a clear, light color. If it's dark yellow, drink more.

    Water is the preferred beverage for exercise up to 60 minutes. Since cross-county outings may last longer, taking a sports drink along can be of benefit. Sports drinks offer energy in the form of glucose polymers, which are absorbed quickly, along with water and electrolytes. The glucose is necessary for your muscles to perform well.

  • Food: Before skiing, eat plenty of carbohydrates, which are found in grains, pasta, cereal, bread, potatoes and fruit. They prepare your muscles for a strenuous workout. On the snow, you can carry a variety of snacks with you, such as raisins, peanut butter crackers, trail mix or fig Newton cookies.

Energy bars are also appropriate for this sport. They are compact, tasty and nutritious. They are similar to mini-meals, and come in a wide variety of nutritional compositions. Some are high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. Others are high in protein and fat, and lower in carbohydrates. Just before you set out or during the trip, consume a high-carbohydrate energy bar. The higher fat and protein bars are more difficult to digest during exercise and may cause bloating and gas. Try taking a bite or two every 15 minutes along with 4 ounces of water. You don't need both an energy bar and a sports drink. Solid food is great when exercise hunger strikes far from base.

With a little bit of planning, cross-country skiing can be an exhilarating experience that leaves you fit and hungry. Follow your excursion with a well-balanced meal and plenty of nonalcoholic fluids to replenish your body.

The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.

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